1911 Pistol in 10mm Auto Caliber, Sounds Good But…


10mm Round
10mm Round

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- 10mm Auto.

Last weekend, during a DTI Defensive Pistol Course on the East Coast, a student brought a 1911 pistol in 10mm Auto caliber.

10mm Auto had a brief following when it was first introduced in 1983. But, it never gained significant popularity, and there has been scant demand for the ammunition for at least the past thirty years.

Recently, it has garnered some popularity among handgun hunters. But, as a serious carry pistol, the 10mm has few adherents.

One of them was my student last weekend, but his enthusiasm for the caliber quickly withered as his $1,500.00 pistol failed to cycle time and again! Most common problem was failure to feed.

We cleaned and lubed it, but feeding issued continued.

In our, and his, frustration, we eventually put this student into a GLOCK G19, which of course, ran fine for the duration.

Glock G19 Gen4 Pistol (original image by Aaron Ragusa )
Glock G19 Gen4 Pistol (original image by Aaron Ragusa )

We’ve seen a few other pistols in this caliber at our Courses, but not many, and I’ve never seen one that ran reliably. The 10mm Auto is a long, straight-walled cartridge. It is essentially “designed to fail!”

Pistols chamberd for it usually have tight chambers (for accuracy, you know), which exacerbates the reliability issue.

As a hunting handgun, the 10mm Auto may have a place, so long as you’re not hunting anything dangerous! As a pistol carried for serious purposes, it has few followers, as noted above.

One fewer after last weekend!


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

  • 97 thoughts on “1911 Pistol in 10mm Auto Caliber, Sounds Good But…

    1. I have a Sig P220 Elite in 10 mm with a 5 inch barrel, and I have not experienced one problem with any type of ammo I have used. Yes a full power 10 is a bit peppier than a 45 or a 9. I also have a Dan Wesson 1911 in 10 mm, which has had FTF and FTE issues. It is not that 10 mm ammo is not right, it is that Sig got it right for a 10 millimeter pistol.

    2. Mastering the 10mm is like mastering the .357 magnum in the K and J frame S&W revolver. It takes some work. The extra power is worth the world if you feel you need it

    3. One of the best features of the Glock is it like a revolver needs no manual safet. This makes it perfect for an EDC weapon along with a holster that needs no manual retention device. Being that almost always you’re going to behind the power curve when you are attacked you need to be able to draw and shoot in one motion. Try to get yourself to 1.5 seconds with what you use. Glock pistols are like a toothbrush they always work. I’ve only seen one person that couldn’t make one work

      1. It’s a distraction from the merits of 10mm, and they are many, but as a general rule if you can’t see an attack coming then you’ve already lost. No matter what your draw is, if you lack the situational awareness and common sense to navigate the world then drawing like it’s fictional 1810 won’t save you.

        And if you can see one coming then you’ve got time to chamber a round or turn a safety off. There’s arguments that you’ll forget to but the people making those arguments have never been in a fight of any kind in their life and tend to not practice with their tools either, so there’s that.

        Don’t take my word for it of course, run through it with someone. Someone with a knife up close? You might get a shot off but it won’t do you any good. Someone charging with a knife from further away? They’ve given up any advantage a bladed weapon has and are obviously not rational so you should have seen this coming. If you didn’t then back to the last scenario, getting a shot off won’t help. Someone threatening to punch you? Quick draw, couple to centre of mass, and you’re looking at life for a thoroughly disproportionate response. Hitting you from up close? You’ve already lost, at this point you either have the skills and conditioning to get by without your firearm or you’re probably screwed.

        Basically you seem to be training for a 9/11 style of event while you should be training to avoid attacks entirely rather than drilling response times to events from out of left field. More generic attacks are going to be a lot more common too, so de-escalation skills and awareness will be more important. Don’t get me wrong, quick drawing is fun and it can’t hurt knowing how to do it, but as far as self defense goes theres just not many applications. If it’s fun then go for your life. If it’s for self defense then it should be well down on the priority list.

        Just some thoughts from experience.

        1. You are full of more shit than a Christmas Goose. I’ve seen hundreds of people injured and killed in violent attacks in my 33 years as a cop. 7.5 LAPD 5.8 NYPD the rest in my home town and a couple of surrounding towns. 10 years in the Marine Corps and 16 as a Private High Risk High Pay Military Contractor as tought me a thing or two about such things. I’ve only had one man actually call me out as done in westurn movies as you seem to think such encounters happen. That incedent was resolved without a weapon being drawn. Violent criminals are like any other predators, they select a victim and normally aren’t alone. They will get as close to the victim as possible and strike as quickly as they can from more than one direction. Of not rendered unconscious or killed out right, you had better be able to draw you’re weapon and fire accurately or you will lose. You may still lose but not fighting back is suiside. Personally I once was charged by an asshole trying with 4 other cops to break up a bar fight in L.A.s 77 division a normal occurrence on a Friday and Saturday night. The puke pulled out a stright razor, selected me and charged across the room, about 40 feet. I had my baton in hand, as he slashed I side stepped and laid my stick across the side of his head. He did slash the shoulder of my leather jacket.
          I was shot along with my partner by an average looking white male who just after having to much contact with the LAPD over some traffic issues. I was able to draw and get two rounds off from my .38 spl service revolver because he shoot my partner first. I also was hit. All 3 of us survived the incident. It is so that on some occasions as cop I would have my hand gun or shot gun in hand expecting trouble. This was only when called to an incedent in folding. Off duty I was once attacked by two pukes trying to steel my truck. I confronted them. One of them was foolish enough to pull out a knife and take a step trwords me. At this point I drew an fired my 10mm pistol twice putting him down. Distance about 8 feet. If I hadn’t been quick I’d be dead. I’ve known a lot of people both cops and contractors that are alive today because they could draw and shoot quicker than the other guy. The bottom line is there are two types of people in a fight of this level the quick and the dead. Big boy’s rules all the marbles and for keeps. I don’t know what kind of world you come from, but most killers won’t call you out like in a western movie and give you the chance to load and make ready like in an IDPA match.

        2. Why the fuck would you ever carry a PDW with an empty chamber? As I said you obviously have no real world experience in actual self defense. I doubt you’ve ever been in more than a school yard fight. If you’re attacked by a puke with a knife unless he cuts you’re juggler you’re not going to be stopped unless you just give up. When you’re shooting for blood YOU NEVER GIVE UP. It’s you’re life you’re trying to defend. You had better be able to get you’re weapon out and get as many shots off as it takes to put this asshole(s) down or run them off before he/they put you down. These animals do this for a living they ain’t afraid of you. They will pick you because they think or see something they want from you. This is why open carry in public is such a stupid idea. Cops open carry obviously. More than one has been jumped and shoot with his/ her own weapon. Taking the weapon was the motivation for the attack. Example the B.C. cop that was murdered just to take his weapon by the Boston Marathon bombers. They didn’t actually take it because they couldn’t figure out how his holster worked. This is what you’re dealing with. Being able to chamber a round before a fight is a foolish idea. How long have you been telling yourself all of this? What makes you think you’re going to have two hands available and space and time to do this with? What makes you think you’re shaking hands won’t short stroke and jam you’re piece? These animals are comfortable with hurting and killing people, some even enjoy it. Usually there’s more than one. That’s why you learn the +1 rule. One will come at you from the front or side at least another from behind. If you actually see it coming you better be quick or you’ll sure be dead. As to the debate over the 10mm, if you like it and it works for you use it. It actually makes no difference. When you’re shot you’re shot. Makes very little difference what with. What does matter is how many times and where.And the damage done and complication they create. I’ve seen this kind of thing in 33 years as a cop more times than I can remember. If you really believe a gunfight starts with someone calling you out and telling be in the street at high noon or slaps you in the face demanding satisfaction, you’ve seen too many movies and you live in a fantasy. People like you shouldn’t carry weapons. They get taken away from you and end up being just one more on the streets that are a menace to all of us.

    4. At a class in PPOTH the instructor wanted my to use a Glock since the safety on my Steyr is difficult to operate so I don’t use it (which is just like using a Glock). The Glock wouldn’t make it through 1 mag for me without a malfunction. It worked fine for its owner. I’ll stay with the S9, thanks.

    5. I have never had a failure to feed in my Witnrss Match Elite…hand loads or factory…..heavy springs help…the gun has to be set up right for the ammo you are using.

    6. I put off buying a 10mm handgun for many years, but three years ago I finally purchased a Glock 20. It has run six different loads by various manufacturers (Federal, Winchester, Speer, and Doubletap). I had zero issues with any of the loads, even Doubletap, whose rounds were of pretty poor quality (bullets missing lubricant, shaved lead, speeds significantly less than advertised, etc.). I have also run three different handloads using hardcast WFNGC bullets at “+P” speeds (slightly higher velocities than maximum loads listed) to carry when I go into bear country (which starts about 1/2 mile east of my property here in Montana). I have only run about 1200 rounds through this pistol, but I’m sure I would have encountered whatever problems I could have seen in that number of rounds fired if 10mm ammunition – or my G30 – was not up to the task.

      No FTF, FTE, no flattened primers, no cracked or split cases. I did put a twenty-pound recoil spring into the G20 as soon as I started shooting the “bear loads”, but I get no issues when I shoot milder commercial ammo with that spring still installed.

      I have read that Mr. Farnum is a good trainer, but his opinion – and that is all it is, since he probably hasn’t done any significant practice with 10mm – doesn’t match reality when the right equipment is used.

      1. Be careful shooting lead out of a factory Glock barrel. The lead will build up and blow your pistol up. The Glock doesn’t use lands and groves. It uses a twist like the H&K G3. Get a replacement barrel for lead bullets. That’s one of the great things about the Glock20 it eats anything.

        1. Jack,

          Perhaps that is true in some calibers, but I have over 24,000 rounds through my Gen2 G21, and around 8,000 of those were handloads with lead bullets. I have _never_ had an issue with them, and most of the loads were just under max for the .45 ACP. Round nose, semi-wadcutters, flat nose – they all worked. The original Glock barrel worked just fine.

          I have shot several thousand lead bullets through my G23, and almost as many through my G20. AFAIK, the only issues with “kabooms” is the tendency of the .40 cal round to experience excessively high pressures if the bullets are not crimped firmly. Bullet set-back in the .40 has caused the bulk of the “kabooms”, although the wrong charges of powder have probably been an issue in a few cases.

          I’m willing to bet that not cleaning your Glock after each range session could be an issue, although I _have_ skipped cleaning the G21 a couple of times, with no ill effects when I shot lead bullets before cleaning it.

          1. Yikes… Be careful especially with the .40 S&W and lead in the factory barrel. I’ve personally seen two of them blow using lead bullets. Both shooters cleaned their guns regularly so I don’t think cleaning was the issue. The Glock barrel doesn’t fully support the case head so if an over pressure do to a restricted bore occurred they let go. Both blow the dust cover and magazines out and buldged the barrel. Fortunately neither shooter got hurt. The Glock .40 are the only guns that have let go with hand loads that I know about. IPSC shooters had this same problem with hot loaded .38 super rounds in an unsupported factory barrel. The case head would fail, blow the mag out and speckled the shooters face with powder flecks. This was called .38 super face. They had to load them up some 20% over max to make the major power factor. I never seen anyone get hurt but it pounded those guns hard. I’ve shot some of the copper plated and hard cast bullets in my G21 with no issues. I’ll shoot 10 rds. Of FMJ after and then clean the barrel while it’s still hot. Gets it clean. I have a replacement barrel with regular rifling for flat nose hardcast lead bowling pin and steel plate matches. 6.2 gr. Of Unique puts em down hard and can cut the X at 21ft. I shoot the same type of lead bullets through my Colt. S&W 10mm pistols. Very accurate and a great carry load as well. 18 years ago I put a scumbag down that slashed me with a butterfly knife trying to take my truck. I still have the truck and the knife. I still carry the S&W 1006 loaded with that same load. Why fix what ain’t broke…

    7. Carried a S&W 1006, 10mm, as an FBI agent. ( I believe it had come from the factory performance center). Never had any issue whatever. Very accurate during qualification shoots which inspired confidence.

    8. i have a SW 1006 which worked fine when I parked it in the safe, several friends had SW 10mm’s also, none of them ever had a function problem. As a reloader, I always followed the recipe in the books. I also have used Glock 20 and 29’s, but never got around to shooting either. i’m looking for a 10mm 1911, and would love to know the brands that fail or work well.

    9. well.
      what i do with any model 1911 i buy is first throat the chamber then polish it, then polish the feed ramp.
      maybe they should of had this done and maybe the pistol would have cycled right.

      1. That is one of the many great things about the 1911 pistol. It’s like a lego set. You can build it any way you want. If you can use some basic hand tools you can set it up any way you want it and work with any load you need it to work with. This fairy tale about carrying a custom weapon as a PDW is a creation of gun magazine writer’s. In 33 years in lawenforcement 7 of them LAPD. I never once saw the choice of weapons or ammunition a factor in wether a shooting case went to trial or kicked lose. It’s not relevant, only the shooting and events involved are. If the prosacuter even introduced that at trial your attorney would motion to surpress as irrelevant and deliberately inflammatory. Most prosacuters.I’ve spoke with say the same thing.That hurts the states case not helps. It has no relevance to the motivation to pull The trigger. The only issue that creates is in a civil tourt. The rules of evidence are different and you can be compelled to be deposed on the stand and give eveadence against yourself. It would be the case made by the plaintiffs attorney for a negligent discharge and reckless attitude. This is to put in the mind of the jury that your foolish or don’t have any reguard for public safety.You’re attorney would counter with you built or had the weapon built to make it easier to hit the intended target only and nothing else. You spent extra hard earned funds over and above to try to insure this. This only serves to make you look better and the prosacuter look less than informed on the subject. This dose make a favorable impression on the jury that are on this jury because they aren’t gun owners or have a CCW. The only thing that would hurt you is If any modifications make the weapon unsafe to use and would make an A.D. likely. If so that would be demonstrated to the jury by expert whiteness and demonstrated as so to the jury. This I have seen at a civil trial. The plaintiffs case is composed of 2 parts. 1 you used excessive force to defend yourself against only an imaginary threat because you have an unreasonable and irrational fear of people of the age and ethnic background of the victim(s) you shot. 2 You were negligent and reckless in your choice of weapon that you had no reasonable skills with, aggrieved by making modifications that you knew or should have known would contribute to the event. Shootings are a shit sandwich, it just matters how big a bite you have to take. A 1911 set up to suit you is still a good idea all the way around

    10. The 10mm pistols and ammo are still very popular, that’s why there still in production. I followed Farnams articles back around 20 years ago. I’m not the only one that thinks he full of shit. Relax chicken little. Just because we gun people call him out on his bullshit doesn’t mean the sky is falling

    11. What are you blathering about? Just because we 10mm shooters call him out on his bullshit remarks on something he seems to know next to nothing about you think the sky is falling chicken little. I’ve read his magazine articles over the past 20+ years. I’m not the only one who thinks he’s full of shit. Take a pill, sit down and take a breath

    12. Is this some bizarre Kafka esque Twilight Zone nightmare, … or is this really happening?

      Is it possible that NRA and SAF and GOA and CCRKBA and JPFO members and fellow Republicans and gun rights advocates could degenerate into vicious squabbling savages?

      If we cannot agree on anything, … if we must disagree on everything, … can we at least not become disagreeable?

      To see my revered friend John Farnam’s remarks taken totally out of context, his character disparaged, his expertise impugned, and his bloodied crucified carcass covered with heaping piles of ad hominem attacks; has driven me to question whether there is any remaining hope for this once great nation.

      Freedom requires civil and reasoned pursuit and enjoyment thereof.
      It cannot survive in this current caustic cauldron of rabid megalomanic madness.
      If we are not in the last days, I fear that my beloved nation is.

      1. If you publish articles full of statements that just ain’t so you’re going to get called out on You’re BULLSHIT. That’s what can happen when you put yourself out there. It doesn’t mean the downfall of western civilization. Get over yourself

      2. Mr Farnam is a well-respected warrior teacher and gentleman . Notice, all you keyboard commandos, the example given was a1911 in 10 mm. IMHO , God’s Own Right Fist was designed for the .45ACP. One blasphemes when trying to “improve ” that perfect combination. He is also correct – while YOU may love your 10mm, more shooters don’ t than do!

        Lighten up, Francis!

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